With recent attempts by BP to cap the ruptured oil well failing, and oil still spewing into the ocean, 41 days after the Deepwater Horizon well exploded and sank, the tourism industry on the Gulf Coast, including vacation property rentals, looks to be bleak this summer.
Realtors, hotel owners, resort operators, and vacation property managers in Alabama, Florida, and Louisiana, are reporting an increase in booking cancellations, and fewer vacation property rentals. This is at a time when they should be booked solid. Cancellations are costing many vacation property managers a significant loss in rental income. Florida’s tourism industry, which generates $60 billion annually, is reporting losing millions.
Several resorts and hotels have set up live webcams to show live footage of their beaches, which for now, remain clean and untouched by the oil spill.
So far, Louisiana has been the hardest hit by the oil spill, with 160 kms of it’s 644 km coastline impacted by the spilled oil. Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida are still reporting clean, unsoiled beaches.
But with an active hurricane season predicted, and oil still gushing from the ruptured well, many people who travel to the Gulf Coast, and rent vacation properties for the summer, are fearful of arriving to oil covered beaches, and are changing their summer vacation plans.
BP has given grants to Louisiana, Alabama, Mississippi, and Florida to promote and encourage their tourism industries. Many in the tourism industry site media coverage of the oil spill, and footage of it washing up onto beaches, as having a negative impact on tourism, and creating anxiety in travelers. Many beaches along the Gulf Coast remain clean and unaffected, and providers of recreational rentals, and vacation properties need to get the word out.
Owners of rental properties and accommodations are reporting that at least some of their lost revenue is being recuperated by renting accommodations to journalists, officials, and oil clean up crews.
The impact of the oil spill on the tourism industry, vacation property rentals and recreation rentals is still being speculated. Convincing people that it’s still OK to travel to the Gulf Coast for their vacation is a challenge. Everyone is hoping for the best, and bracing themselves for the worst.